Kandahar, Apr 6(ANI): Afghan President Hamid Karzai has defended his comments against the West about fraud in his country’s presidential election, which caused dismay in Washington, where the White House called it “troubling”.
Karzai said he still believed the United States played a role in perpetrating the fraud, and denied his comments had dented his relationship with his key allies.
“What I said about the election was all true. It does not reduce from our partnership; it adds to it,” The BBC quoted Karzai, as saying.
Earlier, Karzai had telephoned U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and told her that he had not meant to criticize the United States, but rather Western news coverage of Afghanistan.
In a speech on April 1, Karzai had accused Western media of spreading reports characterizing last year’s presidential election as fraudulent “to pressure me.”
According to reports, Clinton spoke about Washington’s commitment to Afghanistan and told Karzai that the United States had no control over American news coverage.
The White House had called the speech “troubling” and said it was seeking clarification through the State Department, which is diplomatic code for expressing annoyance and even anger.
In a statement, the State Department said Karzai “reaffirmed his commitment to the partnership between our two countries, and expressed his appreciation for the contributions and sacrifices of the international community.”
“They pledged to continue working together,” it added.
Karzai’s speech, coming just days after US President Barack Obama visited him in Kabul, laid bare the deep mistrust between the leaders and their governments even as the United States has tripled its troop commitment since the start of 2009 to fight the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda. (ANI)